Contemplation on Natures

Consider the trees of the earth.

Beginning as nothing more than a seed,

The seed breaks open, allowing roots

And a sprout to grow forth.

 

The sprout twists and turns

Facing new directions as the sun rises and sets

Twisting, stretching, ever reaching

Further and further into open and untraversed air.

 

The sprig of tree toughens

Grows thicker, stronger

against the weather and elements

Each year the bark changes its face.

 

Branches shoot out in every conceivable direction

How better to catch the sun with?

The branches form branches of their own

A labyrinth of twists and turns, indecisions and opportunities.

 

The leaves grow full

Intercepting the path of each sunbeam

Outward and upward reaching

Into the unknown.

 

But the tree is not this.

Not its bark nor its leaves.

These are but temporary.

Leaves die, dry up and fall.

Branches are abandoned for different ventures.

The very face of the tree adapts and shifts.

 

Are we not so?

Growing, shifting, changing.

Seekers of new days and opportunities.

Basking in the glow of each ray of sun.

Even if temporarily.

 

Consider now the flowing rivers.

At its birth, assigned a route.

A direction to flow.

Carved out by waters now passed.

 

For years, even generations

The river seems the same

Varying, straying little from its original course.

But I tell you this is not so.

 

The river has defined the landscape.

Not just in the tales of summer youth

But also in physical reckoning.

The river’s bed has been carved and transformed.

 

Are we not so?

Accepting first the guide of our parents

Then in defiance, marching to our own path.

Not entirely the one given but not so far-fetched either.

 

Friends, parents, those yet unborn,

Do not fret.

The world turns. The rivers flow

The trees will grow.

 

The definition does not always define the object.

 

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Two Sticky Quarters for 18 Minutes of Peace

Isn’t it funny

How year after year

You must learn again how to walk

On the sand by the sea-side?

 

By the time you can frollick

Not a doubt in the world

As if this were your natural state

Summer draws to a close

And you must leave the coast.

 

Your skin forgets the breeze

Your tongue, the salt-water taste

Your eyes, the limitless horizon.

Your mind remembers, but only offers vague memories.

 

School, work, the “real world”

resumes as if Providence pressed play.

Jerky and mute at first,

The gears finding their rhythm.

 

We are not the only ones to forget.

The sands forget too.

Once loose and free,

tossed about in play.

 

Young architects, old dogs, couples of every age,

Names, dates, masterpieces painted

As if with a calligrapher’s brush

All leaving their eternally brief mark.

 

The sand settles,

No more castles, or trenches

No more loungers, or sunbathers

Only the steady beat of the waves.

 

The sand dries up.

Hardens from disuse.

Not so different from the dessserts

With their untouched reaches.

 

It too forgets how to play.

How to fly free in the breeze.

How J + T were in love here.

Cracks soon show its loneliness.

 

Just when all hope seems lost.

When school’s tests seem to win

When work is its most mundane

When the sand becomes hard as rock…

 

The first step…

The first clumsy, stumbling,

Forgetful, childlike step…

 

Breaking through the sand

Releasing all memories and tension.

Freeing a year’s worth of defeat,

Stress, weariness, and grief.

 

Summer returns again…

The Dalliance of Smoke

Inhale.

Exhale.

The breath of life began it all and connects all. A breath that is insurmountable. Uncontrollable. Unavoidable. Completely and fully essential. The world lives and breathes as one. From the boughs of trees to the veins of leaves, singular.

Inhale.

Exhale.

As is smoke. A symptom of death. A sign of destruction. A suggestion of decay. Floating, dancing, living on an invisible breath all its own. A wisp of what is to come and what has been and what never had a chance to be.

Inhale.

Exhale.

The shivering band of ancestors holed up beneath rock and branch. The heat of a communal flame the only chance for life to last. Smoke twirling and twisting, surrounding and enveloping each and everyone dispelling all fear. Leaving only peace and family.

Inhale.

Exhale.

The peace offering burnt on the altar or in the pipe shared between generations and cultures. Tying all together and tearing all apart. The sack of Rome. The offering to Yahweh. The fires of Pompeii. The cleansing dance of the natives. The sacrifice in protest. The passing on into the great beyond. And yet the smoke dances. Twirling and twisting. A life of its own. A memory of all time.

Inhale.

Exhale.

How strange it is the sinuosity of smoke. At once death and life. The twisting vines. The tendrils interlacing and interweaving, mimicking the trunks of the trees they are devouring.

Inhale.

Exhale.

The dalliance of smoke. The brief but all encompassing love of smoke and life. Commingling and coexisting. Life and death. Passion and anxiety.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Is it not strange, the dalliance of smoke?

A Streetcar Named Desire

The lights are dimmed. Somewhere in the darkness a projector whirs into life with the regular hum-click of the sprocket teeth driving home, pulling the silver film forward frame by frame bringing the Warner Bros. shield into view on the silver screen, advancing to the title and cast of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Though it may not be a rainy night in New Orleans; but Florence, South Carolina; or even 1951, but 2018; and though the projector is now digital instead of film, “an hour isn’t just an hour – but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hand” as Tennessee Williams wrote in his iconic play that somehow drops the viewer back in time and transforms the room into a black and white masterpiece mirroring the screen.

On Saturday, March 10th, the Florence Film society hosted a limited screening of “A Streetcar Named Desire” as a fundraiser for the production of the play What Gets Left by local, Brooke Mogy. “An avante garde drama representing feminist theatre set in present day. This play centers around a young woman, Lee, who comes home from college to find her parents have entered into an alternate reality: one in which patriarchal dominance sets the tone. From here, the audience has to sift through the chaos to understand what’s really going on in Lee’s childhood home. What Gets Left explores themes of mental health, gender roles and asks the question: what happens to the people we leave behind?”

A creative community is on the rise in Florence. One that is self-sustaining. One group hosting fundraisers to support another’s venture and vice-versa.

The Florence Film Society in itself is a group that is striving to bring the art and appreciation of film to Florence. Founders Tim Streit and Blake Gibbons dream to one day open an art house theater in Florence to further cultivate the areas artistic possibilities.

Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to stay informed about future events as well as come out to TThomas Arts on Dargan Street on April 13th and 14th at 7pm to support the performance of What Gets Left.